Photo: The Vargas sisters

 

Vargas sisters family photo. (Courtesy Carmen Gullickson)

Vargas sisters family photo. (Courtesy Carmen Gullickson)

This is a photo of a picture my grandmother had of my great-grandmother Carmen Vargas Marin and her sisters. From the top, left to right, Consuelo Vargas Marin [1912-2005], Nieves “Nancy” Vargas Marin [1914-?], Lucy Vargas Marin [unknown], and Carmen Vargas Marin [1906-1984].

There were originally six Vargas sisters, but two of them died in their late teens. All of them were born in Mexico and worked in the canneries in San Francisco after the family emigrated, according to my uncle Art.

1933 Kool family photo

Photo: Kool family in summer of 1933

A Kool family photo from the summer of 1933. (Courtesy of Halbo Kool)

A Kool family photo from the summer of 1933. (Courtesy of Halbo Kool)

The back of a Kool family photo from the summer of 1933. (Courtesy of Halbo Kool)

The back of a Kool family photo from the summer of 1933. (Courtesy of Halbo Kool)

This photo reminds me of half the family photos I’ve eve taken, where you hit the button before everyone is paying attention. It was sent to me by Halbo Kool and he had a go at deciphering the handwriting on the back, as well as identifying the faces he knew in the photo. Here’s what his note said:

“…Summer 1933 Her(man ?) Brouwer ( ?) ; Germ & Anni ; Hendrik & Irene ; HCK & Chr. (Hendrik 3rd from right, HCK and Chr the two on the left)”

To further translate, Christina Kolle is on the far left, and Halbo C. Kool is standing next to her. Halbo C. Kool’s brother Hendrik Kool is the third from the right with wife Irene, but we are not sure which woman she is. Germ Kool and wife Anni (Anna Hebelina Klugkist) are also in the photo, as are host Her(man?) Brouwer and another female.

As for the Brouwers, they may be relatives, but I am not sure. They may just be family friends. It’s funny, though, because my best friend and I are both interested in genealogy and she recently found some family members in her tree from the Netherlands with the last name Brouwer and so I’ve been on the lookout for connections between our families.

Recognize anyone? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to further narrow down who’s who in this photograph.

Cousin Anje has identified everyone in this photo:

1. Christina Kool (née Kolle) 1873-1957 married with Halbo Kool
2. Hendrik Kool 1869-1962 brother Halbo Kool, not married
3. Elsina Anna Kool 1867-1944 sister Halbo Kool, not married
4. Germ Kool 1875 – 1950 brother Halbo Kool, married with Anna Hebelina Klugkist
5. Anna Hebelina Kool (née Klugkist) 1880 -1944 married wirh Germ Kool. Her mother was a sister of Germ’s father.
6. Halbo Kool 1873 – 1943 married with Christina Kolle
7. Catharina Brouwer (née Meijer) 1870 – 1948. Married with Hergen Brouwer. Catharina’s mother was Annechiena Gezina Duintjer, a sister of Halbo Kool’s mother Gonda Margaretha Duintjer.
8. Hergen Brouwer 1871 – 1944

Thanks Anje!

Early 1900s photo of Cornelis “Cees” Kool, governess

Cornelis "Cees" Kool and governess.

Cornelis “Cees” Kool and governess. (Courtesy Halbo Kool)

This kid looks like he just does not trust the camera.

This is an early 1900s photo of Cornelis “Cees” Kool, with his governess, that Halbo Kool sent me a while back and I recently remembered I meant to post it. Cornelis was born on July 6, 1900, in Groningen, Netherlands, and died a grandfather in Canada on March 27, 1979. From what I’ve heard over the years, he was a pretty cool guy. Very smart. I’ll write more on him later.

Atenojenes Vargas, Nancy Vargas put faces on Barberan y Collar postcard

A postcard from Nieves Vargas and Atenojenes Vargas.

A postcard from Nieves “Nancy” Vargas and Atenojenes Vargas. (Courtesy Art Vargas)

This is a postcard with Nieves “Nancy” Vargas’ face superimposed on the left and her brother Atenojenes Vargas on the right in a plane with the words “Barberan y Collar.”

Some background…

The Vargas family immigrated to the U.S. from Jalisco, Mexico, in the early 1900s, including husband Mariano Vargas Ramos, wife Candelaria Marin Hernandez and their eight children. The children were still little, so they were essentially raised in San Jose, Calif., growing up speaking heavily accented English but also Spanish at home, and most of the girls married young, according to my uncle Art, who is the son of Atenojenes.

After Candelaria died in 1930, Mariano and the unmarried siblings, Nieves and Atenojenes included, decided to return to Mexico. I would date this composite image in the early to mid-30s based on the “Barberan y Collar” wording. Barberan and Collar were Spanish aviators — Mariano Barberan y Tros de Ilarduya and Joaquin Collar. They flew a plane across the Atlantic Ocean from Spain to Cuba in June of 1933, according to The Biography. Later that same year, the plane headed for Mexico City but was intercepted by a storm and they were never to be seen again, according to The Biography.

Johan “Hans” Siersema in G.H.B.S. photo

Johan "Hans" Siersema and friends.

Johan “Hans” Siersema and friends.

UPDATE: Cousin Anje was able to track down a Ducth newspaper clip that said Johan graduated from Gooisch Higher Citzens School in  Bussum in 1943, indicating that this is a school photo. She posted more details in the comments.

ORIGINAL POST: This photo almost could be filed under Mystery Photo Series on this blog. It includes my grandfather Johan “Hans” Siersema (fourth in from the right), but I have no idea who the other people in the photo are. The writing on the back says only G.H.B.S. Google searches brought up a hockey club called Gemeentelijke Hogere Burger School for those initials, and hockey is fairly important in my family. My opa played in an adult league after immigrating to Canada and my uncle said he thought my opa broke a couple ribs playing. However, this club is in Groningen and to my knowledge, Hans didn’t spend any time there. If anyone else has ideas, I’d love to hear them.

WWII: Wartime letter from Halbo C. Kool, Christina Kolle in Haren, Netherlands

Wartime letter from Halbo C. Kool, Christina Kolle

Page one of a wartime letter from Halbo C. Kool and Christina Kolle. (Courtesy Halbo Kool)

Wartime letter from Halbo C. Kool, Christina Kolle

Page two of a wartime letter from Halbo C. Kool, Christina Kolle. (Courtesy Halbo Kool)

Halbo Kool, son of Halbo Christiaan Kool and grandson of Halbo C. Kool, sent me this wartime letter from 1942 — from Halbo C. Kool and Christina Kolle to their grandchildren — along with an extremely helpful translation with annotations. Halbo Kool called it “A bit off the cuff and not very polished translation but rather close to the original.” I call it a godsend on account of me not being able to read Dutch. Google Translate still isn’t user friendly. Without further ado…

START LETTER

Haren 24 July 1942

(Haren is a place near Groningen where my grandparents had a house on the Rijksstraatweg in a residential area. It was requisitioned later and my grandmother lived for years with her brother-in-law Hendrik, but moved in 1956 back to her house in Haren (but got only half of it, the rest was still let) and lived there till she died in 1957.)

Dear Children!

The last few days it was here too an unpleasant atmosphere. Sunday all the man’s bicycles were seized and Monday they asked door by door to hand them over. Then there was suddenly the rumour that the blankets were also asked for but it appeared to be a false alarm.

What a situation these days, I can understand that it’ll be bad in Amsterdam. Is it true of all those suicides?  People say that Amsterdam and Rotterdam have been surrounded with barbed wire, is that true as well? There seems to be much tension in the air, everybody is very nervous.

As far as food is concerned things aren’t to bad here, we still have a regular supply of potatoes and vegetables. Milk is getting difficult and is going to be rationed from August. It’s a big problem for Dad (Halbo Cornelis Kool) as I’m always making porridge from the bread, the grains (larger bits) stick in his throat and then he must cough terribly. (Christina’s note: Halbo C. Kool died the following year)

The weather is a bit rotten these days and we don’t go out of the house now that’s it’s almost August.This morning we received a letter from Kees (her son Cornelis Kool) and Loes (Christina’s note: Louise Lopes-Cardozo) demanding us a statement about our parents and ourselves so he can prove that we don’t descend from Jews (mixed Aryan-Jewish – excuse me the unacceptable expression – couples were then still had some respite, and it may well have saved Loes and her children from deportation, as it did for the first husband of my sister Anneke’s first husband, Emile Mot. His parents were both Jewish, almost all their family was deported, but he and his parents escaped, they lived in Hilversum, not far from Naarden, and a policeman had — to my knowledge –declared that Emile was his son from an adulterous relation with Emile’s mother.)

What can he do with this, perhaps that things are a bit easier for Loes? We’ll do of course straight away the necessary. Monday auntie Trui (Geertruida Kolle, sister of my grandmother) has her birthday and if at all possible I’ll pay her a visit. Auntie Marie (probably Johanna Maria Kolle, another of her sisters) is there and she’ll be able to tell us where we should go (for the information). Did you already visit Mrs. Cardozo (should be the mother of Loes, who was sent off to a concentration camp with or like her daughter Frederika, neither returned. This information and the names of the aunties was given to me by Anje.) or she you? How terrible all this is, such a family being ripped apart like this. You hear about such things but if you know the people well, you really feel it.

How are you Willy (my mother)? Do you still get extra food and are the children all right again? Are things all right in Haarlem (where Willy’ s parents and sister live). Do give them my greetings when you can. What kind of sugarsweet product is that, Halbo, and under what name is it sold in the shops, is it something for us to buy?

Well, dear children, the very best, greetings and a kiss from your loving Grandpa (and) Grandma. (C. Kool-Kolle)

END LETTER

I find this letter super interesting because it really reflects the issues of the day. It sounds like Cornelis Kool was trying to arrange it so his wife and family would avoid persecution and execution during the war. One of my uncles had said that was possible because Cornelis worked at a paper mill and the Nazis needed paper; therefore, his family was probably lower on a list somewhere (and speaking of commandeering bicycles, he’d saved for years for the car the Nazis took from him and stayed angry about that for many years after). As for this, though, it sounds like maybe he was doctoring some genealogy records? I certainly would.

Portrait: Gonda Margaretha Duuntjer

Gonda Margaretha Duuntjer (Courtesy Halbo Kool)

Gonda Margaretha Duuntjer (Courtesy Halbo Kool)

This is the third, final, and most recent photograph of Gonda Margaretha Duuntjer that I have. It was sent to me by Halbo Kool. Gonda lived to be 81 years old [1840-1921], spending her whole life in Groningen, Netherlands. She married Cornelis Kool [1838] and they had four children that I know of so far: Halbo Kool [1873], Germ Kool [1875], Elsina Anna Kool [1867], and Hendrik Kool [about 1870].

Portraits of Hendrik Kool

Hendrik Kool, birth date unknown.

Hendrik Kool, birth date unknown. (Courtesy Halbo Kool)

This is a portrait of a relatively young Hendrik Kool and below you’ll find one of him a little older. Hendrik was born around 1870 to Cornelis Kool [1838] and Gonda Maragaretha Duuntjer. Hendrik lived to be 92 years old and died on January 24, 1962. I don’t know anything else about him but would like to, so if you have any information to share, please post it in the comments.

Hendrik Kool

Hendrik Kool. (Courtesy Halbo Kool)

News clippings about the de la Penha claim to Labrador

I recently purchased an Ancestry.com subscription and it came with an additional perk, a simultaneous subscription to Newspapers.com. Since I wanted to know more about the de la Penha claim to Labrador, which I’ve written about here before, I started searching for Joseph de la Penha and the following are some of the clips that came up, in order of discovery. My notes will be below each one. (Spoiler alert: Guess what document is in the USA?)

1935

The Times (Hammond, Indiana) clip from 13th of July, 1935.

Um… Sorry. Did someone say $10,000,000? Wow. Although, I am fairly certain Joseph de la Penha was not a rabbi, so some of these Central Press facts are suspect.

1926

Yep. This excerpt is pretty clear about to whom the land is being deeded. And that, folks, is why you shouldn’t lend people money. But if the story of how Joseph de la Penha loaned William of Orange the money to claim the throne in the first place is true, could you image how world history might have played out if de la Penha hadn’t done so?

1972

You guys. You guys! The document still exists (in Photostat form). It’s in the American Jewish Archives in Cininnati, Ohio. Here’s the listing: William III grant, 1697.

Does anyone have any contacts in Ohio?

1950

No real notes on this clip, but I will say the facts in it jive with most accounts.

1978


Money isn’t everything, but that last sentence does make you a little sad for Isaac de la Penha. I’ll quote the bit I mean here: “…otherwise he would be one of the most wealthy men in the world today.” The world.

Just let that sink in a moment.

1929

With the acknowledgement that this article was published two months before the Great Depression started, Labrador was at the time valued at $80 million. Later, it was considered to priceless. That richest man in the world comment in the 70s is making more sense now.

1926

OK, OK, this is the earlier report I’ve found. It’s interesting to learn Isaac de la Penha had three sisters living in New York. So while some later new coverage did mention the many descendants who died in the Holocaust, they wouldn’t have been among them.

Also, the mention of Quebec and Newfoundland fighting over Labrador at the same time is interesting.

MYSTERY PHOTO SERIES: Mother, child in Groningen in 1800s

Mystery photo likely on the Kool family side taken in Groningen.

Mystery photo likely on the Kool family side taken in Groningen. (Courtesy Halbo Kool)

There’s a good chance the subjects in this mystery photo are directly related to a previous mystery photo subject I mentioned recently on this blog. Both photos came to me through Halbo Kool and both appear to have come from the same place and have similar coloring. In that mystery photo, I postulated that the subject was a brother of Cornelis Kool [1838]. It would stand to reason then that the woman and child in this photo were his wife and child. That’s the best educated guess I have, however, so I’m open to other hypotheses.